For several months, I was hoping that I will be travelling with friends. But I had to travel alone because of conflicting work schedules and busy personal lives. I’m not bitter. Not even disappointed.
As a chance passenger, I had no choice but to sit in the aisle of the bus. Yes, on the floor. I was emotional. Tried my best to hide my tears, thinking why I was on that kind of situation.
It’s my fault. Maybe because when I was younger I didn’t really think about the future. All I knew back then was I needed to work and make money to pay the bills. I had no time for building meaningful relationships. I was always working.
So now I have modest savings but alone with no one to keep me company. When people ask me, “Are you alright?” I’d flash my most fake smile and say, “Of course.” They don’t know I’m crying.
There are other passengers in the aisle and I had to stand up so I could pay my ticket. While waiting for the bus conductor to give my change, a young lady pulled my right arm and said, “Ading, tabi ka na lang sa amin!”
I was invited to sit with them although only two persons are supposed to fit in that chair. The lady who invited me had a really pretty face and nice set of teeth. Kamukha niya si Mama Mary. Morena version. She was also very friendly and she asked a lot of questions like:
Where I was heading – Santiago, Isabela.
What’s my province coz apparently my accent doesn’t have any trace of Visaya or Ilocano or any other local languages – I’m from Manila.
What’s my purpose of visiting Santiago – I will be attending the baptism of my friend’s daughter.
Do I know exactly where I need to alight – My friend will be in contact once I arrive in Santiago bus terminal.
She said they are going to Tuguegarao and I will be descending first.
Kung sakaling lumagpas ka, iuwi ka na lang namin! Mga babae naman kami eh!
Her companion was just laughing and was combing my hair with her hand. What’s up with that? I mean why are they so nice to me? Did they see me crying? LOL.
The next ten hours was uneventful. The bus departed Edsa bus terminal at past 7:00 PM and arrived at Santiago City at almost 5:00 AM. In between those hours, the passengers were just sleeping. I opted to sit on the floor because I didn’t want to cause discomfort to the two sweet ladies.
Before I got off the bus, the ladies told me to wait until sunrise or at least 6:00 AM before commuting to San Mateo. I was advised to stay alert coz there are bad people even in the provinces. Thankfully I didn’t encounter any bad person, just friendly and helpful locals.
Although this is my second time in Isabela, I still haven’t explored this province yet and what it has to offer. I’m sure there are a lot of natural attractions but I just had limited time. I even told my friend that I will be taking the 6:00 PM bus to Manila on the same day. But her family was not in favor and they wanted me to stay for the night or even for the entire week. I told them I have work and that I really must leave early morning.
So I took the 6:00 AM bus bound to Manila. Alone still but I wasn’t tearful anymore. During the 10-hour travel time from San Mateo to Sampaloc, I was thinking about my life.
Maybe I really should be regretful of my twenties because I focused more on work instead of on building a real life. I wish I focused on having a boyfriend, getting married and raising kids.
Maybe I shouldn’t be regretful at all. I have developed a skill in a specific niche and I know how to make money. Isn’t that also a good thing?
Maybe I should just respect that these are the consequences of my decisions and choices when I was younger. There are no perfect decisions. Those roads that I didn’t take, they are long gone. It’s not like I can drive back and choose again. It’s useless to keep on thinking about the what ifs. As Aslan said,
No one is ever told what would have happened.